It may be small but then, as they say, dynamite comes in small packages. So, when one talks about the South Africa auto manufacturing industry, it is quite natural to think of the big players and forget there are smaller assembly operations in the mix as well.

Mahindra South Africa is one of these - others being BAIC that has yet to start operations and Stellantis, which is the process of building its assembly facility - and has been steadily increasing the ouput of PikUp variants.

More than 10 000 PikUps have rolled off the line  since the company opened its South African assembly facility at the Dube Trade port Special Economic Zone outside Durban.

Mahindra South Africa first opened the Assembly Facility in May 2018, with a single assembly line and limited vehicle line-up. Since then, the facility has reached peak single-shift production and added several additional models, special editions, and customised vehicles, which it builds in partnership with the team at Mahindra Special Fitment Centre in Gauteng.

Looking for a PikUp? Look no further

Mahindra has, in fact, been an active part of the local auto scene for nearly 20 years.

The company has dealers in all nine provinces of South Africa, which are comprehensive facilities that handle sales, service and spare parts. With upwards of 72 dealerships, in cities and in towns across Southern Africa, Mahindra has a growing national footprint that is moving ever deeper into communities as the company continues its drive to offer value-for-money products and services to its customers.

Its most recent wave of product being the PikUp, XUV700 and Scorpio N, all represented a completely new generation of product but, more importantly, a quantum leap in terms of design, packaging and standard equipment.

The  Scorpio-N became the first body-on-frame SUV to secure a 5-star rating in the Global New Car Assessment Programme’s (GNCAP) new crash-test protocols, which came into effect from  July 2022.

At the time of the launch in 2022, Veejay Nakra, president, Automotive Division, M&M Ltd said: "The All-New Scorpio-N has been designed, engineered and built to be a game. With an unmissable design, thrilling performance and advanced technology, we continue to carry forward the Mahindra legacy of building authentic, tough yet sophisticated SUVs.

“The Scorpio-N disrupts existing product category hierarchies and will be a force to reckon with across existing SUV offerings in the state. This launch signifies our commitment to bringing world-class SUVs to the South African market and creating a delightful ownership experience." 

At the same time, Mahindra South Africa unveiled its new visual identity including a brand-new logo characterised by the ‘Twin Peaks’ logo.  

Speaking on the occasion, Sachin Arolkar, head of International Operations, Automotive Division, Mahindra & Mahindra Limited said: “The new look of brand Mahindra with its formidable product range shall enable its customers to explore the terrains of South Africa in a most adventurous way.

No matter if it’s city roads or the gravel backroads of the Karoo. The visual overhaul of our identity will be done in a phased manner across our nameplates of SUV and lifestyle bakkies, and across all the virtual and physical touchpoints where our customers interact with us.”

Founded in 1945, the Mahindra Group has more than 260 000 employees in 100 countries. It enjoys a leadership position in farm equipment, utility vehicles, information technology and financial services in India and is the world’s largest tractor company by volume. It has a strong presence in renewable energy, agriculture, logistics, hospitality and real estate. 

“The Durban facility has enabled us to adapt to market needs and to serve our bakkie customers faster. For instance, our special Farmer’s Edition sold out within days of its launch and our Karoo and new Karoo Dusk, Dawn and Storm models are now available, thanks largely to the local assembly facility,” said Rajesh Gupta, CEO of Mahindra South Africa..

Mahindra and its assembly partner, AIH Logistics, build a near-complete range of Pik Up models, including the highly popular Karoo and specialised models such as the Pik Up Ambulance.

Colin Windell